Guide to Noto’s Satoyama and Satoumi (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems) by Photos and Movies

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Name
Kôda Fire Festival
Address
Kôda-machi, Noto Island, Nanao City
Category
Festival
Class
Custom
Age
17th century~19th century
Designation
Fire festival in Kôda, Noto Island: Ishikawa Prefecture Intangible Folk Cultural Asset (January 1987)
Comment
This 250-year-old fire festival, held on the last Saturday of July, marks the climax of the summer festivals of Iyahime Shrine in Kôda-machi. Also called “Osuzumi Festival”, it is one of the three biggest fire festivals of Japan. A pillar torch is raised in the square to the east of the shrine. This torch is a 13m-long log wrapped in 800 bundles of brushwood, into which a young bamboo tree with paper streamers attached at the top is inserted. In the evening, people surrounding the pillar torch throw straw torches at it, and the fire reaches the top in an instant; huge flames light up the night sky. The scene of a burning pillar of flames is truly thrilling. It is said that if the pillar falls towards the mountains, the harvest will be good, and if it falls towards the sea, the fish catches will be good. It is thought that the summer Shinto ritual for removing sins and shame held in the sixth month of Japan’s old calendar and the festival for praying for the extinguishing of fires have been combined into this festival. This festival attracts a lot of interest as the origin of summer festivals in Japan. It has been designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Asset by Ishikawa Prefecture.
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